Before I get into the facts of the band, I wanted to talk about the song that drew me into the sorcery of Canzoniere Grecanico Salentino.
“Nu Te Fermare” was a part of a four song instalment of NPR’s All Thing’s Considered, which is where I first heard it. While all of the songs were musical in their own rights, “Nu Te Fermare” was entrancing. The moment that captured my favour was near the end. One gentleman starts with a phrase; then, another man builds with another phrase; and finally, the woman’s hauntingly gorgeous voice weaves through the air around them.
Canzoniere Grecanico Salentino is an Italian band that has been around since 1975, originating from Salento, Italy (hence 1/3 of the band’s name). With a fiddler, drummer, dancer, guitarist, vocalist, Italian bagpiper, and violinist, the band is seven strong and currently located in Lecce (one of the Eastern most parts of the “heel” section of Italy).
The singing style is not something heard in traditional or current American music, and I find very similar sounds in the vocal lilts and instrumentation when compared to Indian music (real Indian music, not the soundtrack of “Slumdog Millionaire”). Obviously the language keeps it from sounding identical to Indian music, but the addition of bagpipes, Italian bagpipes to be specific, are quite a difference as well.
CGS successfully blends legatto phrasing in some of the sining and bagpipe playing with stacatto strumming of the guitar and bouzouki, which, I believe, makes “Nu Te Fermare” so enjoyable to listen to.